KARACHI: The State Bank and the government are on the same page to boost the Islamic finance which has consistently been growing, and recognise the need of developing expertise in the specialised field, said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday.

Addressing a meeting on establishment of Centre of Excellence for Promotion of Islamic Finance at the State Bank, Dar said the centre “will produce high quality bankers required for the promotion and development of Islamic finance in the country”.

Substantial part of the banking will go Islamic as it carried minimum risk, he said, adding that Islamic banks had huge potential to finance small and medium enterprises (SMEs), agriculture and infrastructure.

Besides the government and the SBP, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the stock market also assured their full support for the development of Centre of Excellence, he said.

The centre would be established after considering various proposals. At least eight proposals from different institutions were submitted and were opened by the finance minister at the end of the ceremony. LUMS, IBA and other universities and institutions submitted their proposals.

All speakers, including State Bank Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, sighted huge potential for the development of Islamic banking and financing. However, they agreed that lack of human expertise would hurt the industry’s development.

Wathra said assets of the global Islamic banking industry would reach $5 trillion by 2020 from about $1.8tr at present.

The share of Islamic banking in Pakistan’s overall banking industry is currently 10 per cent, which would touch 15pc by 2018, he added

Representatives of Islamic banks, Shariah scholars and a number of officials from the banking industry were also present on the occasion.

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